Author Archives: Jim Ellis

The Campaign Begins

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 8, 2019 — President Donald Trump used his State of the Union Address on Tuesday night to informally begin his re-election drive.

While some theorized that the president might decide not to seek a second term as we got closer to the primaries, the text of his speech told us just the opposite. In fact, instead of being a State of the Union Address, his subject matter and delivery made it closer to a campaign announcement speech.

In addition to using the address to frame the beginning of his re-election effort, the president also outlined what will likely become his key strategic tenets. In other words, he showcased the speech to begin painting the picture of his Democratic opponents that he wants the electorate to see.

It was clear from his emphasis points that Trump intends to create a clear contrast between he and the Democrats, and certainly the future party nominee whomever that may be, by attempting to position himself as the center-right candidate and driving his opponents into the far left ideological realm.

He also displayed the key points that will likely serve as the foundation for his campaign offensive: increasing jobs, economic prosperity, and the number of small businesses; re-emphasizing his America First theme with both the country’s allies and adversaries in relation to foreign affairs and trade issues; and, how the Trump Administration has made the world a safer place because of its foreign policy decisions and initiatives.

The president also used the speech as a tool to put the Democrats on the defensive, and even apparently shocked them at least a couple of times if their initial reaction is any indication.

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Mississippi’s Dead Heat

By Jim Ellis

Mississippi state flag

Feb. 7, 2019 — The open Mississippi governor’s race will be decided later this year, and a new Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy survey (Jan. 30-Feb. 1; 625 registered Mississippi voters) finds Attorney General Jim Hood (D) and Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves (R) locked in a virtual tie. The Republican incumbent, Gov. Phil Bryant, is ineligible to seek a third term.

While Hood, a four-term AG, holds a slight 44-42 percent edge, Reeves has closed the original six-point spread that Mason-Dixon first found in their December 2017 poll (Hood 43 percent; Reeves 37 percent). In April of last year, M-D projected Hood’s advantage to be 44-39 percent.

But, winning the popular vote is not all that’s required to win a Mississippi statewide race. In similar fashion to a presidential candidate needing to score a victory in the Electoral College, a Mississippi gubernatorial candidate must not only record the most votes in the statewide aggregate count, he or she must also win a majority of the 122 state House districts.

Currently, Republicans hold a 72-46 split in the state House with four vacancies. Thus, it would appear Reeves would have a strong opportunity to capture at least a bare majority 63 House districts, assuming the statewide count is close. If no candidate carries a majority of state House districts, the state House members would then vote to decide the election between the top two finishers.

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Two New Polls Show Tracking Trends In 2020 Presidential Race

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 6, 2019 — The Emerson College Polling Institute and Monmouth University just released two presidential polls, the former of Iowa voters, the latter, a national study.

The Emerson poll (Jan. 30-Feb. 2; 831 registered Iowa voters, 260 likely Iowa Democratic caucus attenders) finds former Vice President Joe Biden leading Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Bernie Sanders (I-D/VT), 29-18-15 percent, while Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) posts 11% support.

The other candidates land in single digits: ex-Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) at six percent; Sens. Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH) both with four percent; Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has three percent; while former HUD Secretary Julian Castro posts two percent, and ex-Rep. John Delaney (D-MD) each register one percent support.

The results are consistent with previous polls conducted of the Iowa Caucus sampling universe even though the Democratic sample in this survey is very low.

During the period of Jan. 25-27, Monmouth University tested a national sample of 735 registered US voters from a pool of 805 adults to determine perceptions mostly of the Democratic candidates, but also queried the aggregate respondent universe about President Trump.

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Northam on the Edge

The racially charged photo compilation above appeared in the 1984 yearbook of the medical school Gov. Ralph Northam attended with his name on the page.


By Jim Ellis

Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam

Feb. 5, 2019 — Virginia Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam continues to reel, and many believe the increasing pressure upon him to resign will force him from office within the next 48 hours.

Northam defeated former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie, 54-45 percent, in the 2017 statewide election. His term will expire at the beginning of 2022.

The number of Democrats publicly opposing Northam over the publication of a racially charged medical school year book picture increased substantially over the weekend, capped by a joint pro-resignation statement issued from Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, along with House Education & Labor Committee chairman Bobby Scott (D-Newport News).

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who Northam served as lieutenant governor, and Congressional Black Caucus member Donald McEachin (D-Richmond) also joined the chorus of detractors in addition to Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez, former Vice President Joe Biden, several other presidential candidates, and ex-Virginia Gov. Doug Wilder, the state’s first African American governor who was elected in 1989.

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A Pennsylvania Gerrymander or Not?

By Jim Ellis

Feb. 4, 2019 — As more final voting data becomes available about the 2018 electoral patterns, new local analysis articles are being distributed that allow us to better understand why the results unfolded as they did.

Emily Previti published a piece for Pennsylvania’s Keystone Crossroads media site at the end of last week that details just how the congressional outcome might have changed if the state Supreme Court had not altered the Pennsylvania federal map.

The Pennsylvania high court ruled about a year before the last election that the 2011 redistricting legislative package was a political gerrymander in relation to the state’s constitution. The court then instituted new boundaries for the 2018 and 2020 elections, designed to bridge the gap until the next census, reapportionment, and redistricting processes begin again.

The court majority reasoned that the previous congressional map routinely yielding a 13R-5D congressional result was out of sync with a statewide electorate that usually favors Democrats, among other reasons. Yet, according to the Previti article, such may not have been the case.

Click on above map to see full story and interactive map at the Keystone Crossroads media site.

After overlaying the new court-imposed 18-district congressional map (above) that returned a 9R-9D result from the previous 12R-6D delegation split (the division changed when Democrat Conor Lamb won an early 2018 special election in a previously Republican 18th CD), Previti concludes that the same 9-9 split we see today may well have occurred even under the previous map.

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